I did a double take when I walked into the
foyer of my office building a few weeks ago.
A welcome sign on a standard announced a
"Welcome to John J. Schmitt"
Who the heck is John J. Schmitt and what
makes him rate his own welcome sign? Turns
out Mr. Schmitt had an appointment in the
office with the building owner and the
building owner knows a thing or two about
customer service. Customers like to feel
recognized and appreciated. There is nothing like
seeing your name up in lights.
I admit, rolling out the red carpet can be troublesome
and expensive. Imagine how much Wal*Mart could
add to its bottom line every year if it cut the job of
"greeter" from its one zillion stores. But, the
folks in Bentonville would never consider the
cost cutting move because they know that
"Welcome to Wal*Mart" is a special touch that
makes a difference. You might joke about the
patronizing delivery of "Welcome to Wal*Mart,
but you'd feel neglected if you entered the
store without hearing the familiar greeting
What does welcome have to do with the horse
Your clients pay you from hundreds to
thousands of dollars each year. If
Wal*Mart can say Welcome to every customer
who is entering to purchase a package of
socks or a tube of toothpaste, why don't more
professional horsemen say welcome to their
Think about these ideas that follow along the
welcome sign and red carpet roll out
philosophies for your existing clients:
- When folks travel hundreds or even
thousands of miles to check up on their
horses in training make sure their horses are
polished and shined to
look their best.
- Also, dedicate part of your daily schedule to
talking about the training program, how their
horse is doing, what your expectations are
and what the time frame will be for these
things to happen.
- If you aren't around to be able to speak
to the client, have a trusted assistant fill
in for you to make the client feel welcome
and help with answering or getting answers to
When prospects visit the farm either by
appointment or drop-in:
- Everyone on staff should be well
rehearsed in making guests feel welcome and
- After the prospects' interests are
established: sale horses, boarding, training,
lessons, summer camp, stallions, etc. then
prospects can be attended to by the
appropriate staff or an appointment set for a
meeting with the person in charge.
- Granted, drop-in guests can appear at
the worst possible time. But it takes only a
few minutes of your time to say, Hello! and
thanks for coming to visit. I've got the
afternoon booked, but I would like to speak
Why don't we set up an appointment
time in the next few days to talk?
Customer service is a good investment and
produces big results. Allowing your
clients and prospects to feel welcome and
wanted may be the edge you need over the
competition. Besides, it's just good manners.
I'd welcome your ideas on how you make
clients feel at home at your place and
stories about how good first impressions made
a difference in your business.